FCC tells Fox-Cablevision to prove fair, honest negotiations
The Federal Communications Commission on Friday has asked Fox and Cablevision to prove that they are playing fair in their negotiations over retransmission fees.
In a letters to News Corp. deputy chairman, Chase Carey, and Cablevision CEO James Dolan, the agency asked the firms to prove that they are conducting their talks "in good faith" and "in an atmosphere of honesty, purpose and clarity of process."
Eight days into a blackout of Fox shows for Cablevision's 3 million viewers, lawmakers and public interest groups have pushed the FCC to step into the negotiations impasse. With the World Series beginning next week, analysts say Cablevision subscribers could choose to leave their contracts in frustration.
The FCC doesn't have the legal authority to directly intervene in retransmission fees negotiations but Commissioner Michael Copps and public interest groups argue that the agency can intervene if it is clear that both sides aren't conducting their talks in good faith and hurting consumers in the process.
The FCC's media bureau specifically asked the companies "to describe with specificity what has transpired since you initially began your negotiations, and detail the efforts your company is making to end the current impasse. If you are aware of any conduct by the other side that you believe violates the good faith requirement, please so indicate and provide supporting evidence.
"We are deeply concerned about the impact of your current retransmission consent dispute on consumers in Cablevision's service area," William Lake, FCC's media bureau chief wrote.
Answers to those questions are due by the end of business on Monday, Oct. 25.
| October 22, 2010; 2:13 PM ET
Categories: Consumers, FCC
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